Smart Snacking Resource Guide

Smart snacking is simple and fast! Smart snacking between meals can be an important part of your healthy food choices from the Food Guide Pyramid.

These general snack ideas are for young children age 1 and up, teenagers, even adults.

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Smart Snacks count as part of the total calories in a day. They can also be a good source of nutrition. Smart snacking is a normal part of a healthy diet for young children; teens and adults also love smart-snacking.

Snacks are a good way to get children to eat fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat and fat-free milk and milk products.

Examples of Quick and Easy Snacks

  • Whole-grain crackers and low-fat cheese
  • Snack-size low-fat yogurt or pudding
  • Pretzels or unbuttered popcorn
  • Cut-up fruit in low-fat or fat-free yogurt
  • Fruit smoothies
  • Vegetable sticks with a low-fat yogurt dip
  • Frozen fruit “pops” made from 100% juice
  • Peanut butter on celery topped with raisins
  • Strawberry-flavored low-fat milk and graham crackers
  • Peanut butter on whole-grain toast
Bread, Cereal, Rice & Pasta Group
  • Wheat crackers topped with cheese slices
  • Ready to eat cereal — with or without milk
  • Bread of all kinds — multi-grain, rye, white, wheat
  • Ginger snaps, vanilla wafers, graham crackers, animal crackers
  • English muffin pizza made with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese
  • Pita bread with humus
  • Tortillas with cheese
  • Corn bread, muffins
  • *Flavored mini rice cakes or popcorn cakes
  • *Fruit-and-nut breads
  • *Granola bars, fig bars
  • *Popcorn — low fat variety
  • *Trail mix — ready-to-eat cereals mixed with pretzels and raisins
  • *Low fat corn chips with salsa
  • *Pretzels
Vegetable Group
  • Cherry tomatoes cut in small pieces
  • Broccoli, green beans or sugar peas w/low fat dip
  • Vegetable juice
  • *Green salad with low fat dressing
  • *Vegetable sticks – carrot, celery, green pepper, cucumber, squash

Fruit Group
  • Orange or tangerine sections
  • Fruit crisps or cobblers
  • Chunks of banana, pineapple, strawberries, or melons
  • Canned fruits packed in juice, not heavy syrup
  • 100% fruit juice
  • Frozen fruit juice bars
  • *Sliced apple rings with peanut butter
  • *Grapes — cut grapes into small pieces for young children
  • *Dried fruits such as raisins and prunes
Milk, Yogurt & Cheese Group
  • Milk shakes made with milk and fresh fruit
  • Yogurt, pudding, custard
  • Hot cocoa made with milk
  • Cheese slices
  • Low fat ice cream, ice milk, or frozen yogurt
  • Cottage cheese and fruit
Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs & Nuts Group
  • Hard cooked eggs cut in wedges or slices
  • Tuna salad with crackers
  • Bean dip with crackers
  • *Thin slices of cooked meat, meat sticks, or chicken drumstick
  • *Nuts or seeds
  • *Peanut butter spread thinly on crackers

Snacks When You’re Away From Home

Snacks from home can be more nutritious and less costly than snacks bought from a vending machine or a convenience store.

Here are examples of snacks you can bring from home:

  • Ready-to-eat cereals
  • Sandwich quarters
  • Yogurt or pudding in small containers
  • Shelf-stable milk in small containers
  • Meat sticks — ham, roast beef, or turkey cut into “sticks”
  • 100% fruit or vegetable juice in small boxes or cans
  • Fruit
  • *Pretzels *Popcorn — low fat variety
  • *Crackers and cheese *Vegetable sticks

Use a cooler or an insulated bag with an ice pack for snacks that need to be kept cold.

Fats, Oils, & Sweets . . . Children and adults should have only small amounts of high-sugar and high-fat foods. These foods provide calories, but little or no vitamins and minerals.

These foods include - fried foods, high-fat snack chips, fruit drinks, sodas, candies, sweet desserts such as cake, pastries, and doughnuts.

How can you get your child to eat low fat snacks? . . . These easy-to-make recipes are a great place to start! Invite your child to help you prepare them, too. Cooking is an excellent way to introduce young children to math skills such as measuring, and science concepts such as how heat and cold change substances. Cooking offers you and your child a chance to enjoy a project together. Remember to wash your hands and review kitchen safety rules before you begin.

Mexican Snack Pizzas

A low-fat, low-calorie pizza with a Mexican flavor. The beans and whole-wheat muffins give a fiber boost.

  • whole-wheat English muffins
  • 1⁄4 cup tomato puree
  • 1⁄4 cup canned kidney beans, drained and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon green pepper, chopped
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon oregano leaves
  • 1⁄4 cup mozzarella cheese, part skim milk, shredded
  • 1⁄4 cup lettuce, shredded

4 servings Per pizza:

  • (1⁄2 English muffin):
  • Calories 95
  • Total fat 2 grams
  • Split muffins; toast lightly.
  • Mix puree, beans, onion, green pepper, and
    oregano. Spread on muffin halves.
  • Sprinkle with cheese.
  • Broil until cheese is bubbly - about 2 minutes
  • Garnish with shredded lettuce.

Chili Popcorn

Prepare the popcorn in a microwave oven or hot air popper. The small amount of fat added to the popcorn is just enough to make the other seasonings stick to the popped kernels.

  • 1 quart popcorn, popped
  • 1 tablespoon margarine, melted
  • 1 1⁄4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • dash garlic powder
  • 4 servings
  • Calories 50
  • Total fat 3 grams
  • Mix hot popcorn and margarine.
  • Mix seasonings thoroughly
  • Sprinkle over popcorn
  • Mix well
  • Serve immediately

Foods that are round, hard, small, thick and sticky, smooth, or slippery should not be offered to children under 4 years of age because of the risk of choking. Examples of such foods include hot dogs, whole grapes, seeds, nuts, popcorn, large pieces of raw carrot, and spoonfuls of peanut butter.

Fruit-Juice Cubes

Are you looking for an afternoon snack that is cool, refreshing, and different? Both children and adults will enjoy these bite-size fruit-juice cubes. They are a good replacement for sugary drinks, which supply almost no vitamins or minerals.

  • 1 1⁄2 tablespoons (1 1⁄2 envelopes) unflavored gelatin
  • 3⁄4 cup water
  • 6-ounce can frozen grape or apple juice concentrate
  • 1. Very lightly grease 9 X 5" loaf pan or plastic
  • ice-cube trays, with non stick spray.
  • Soften gelatin in water in a saucepan for 5 minutes.
  • Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin dissolves. Remove from heat.
  • Add fruit-juice concentrate; mix well. Pour into loaf pan or ice-cube trays.
  • Cover and refrigerate. Chill until set.
  • Cut into 1-inch cubes and serve.

Other Snack Ideas

  • Juicy: fruits
  • Crispy: pumpkin seeds, carrot sticks, cucumber strips, whole grain toast, cereal, mixed with nuts
  • For warmth: soups, warm cider, or hot chocolate
  • For thirst: water, fruit or vegetable juices, yogurt shakes

*Be careful. These foods may cause choking, especially in children less than 4 years of age. Peanut butter should not be served to children under age 2. When serving peanut butter to children ages 2 to 3, spread it very thinly on foods.

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